Use MKV files on iPad?

Discussion in 'iPad Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by Doju, Jan 30, 2010.

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  1. Doju macrumors 68000

    Jun 16, 2008
    I refuse to buy iTunes HD. It's compressed 720p and costs too much. I rip my Blu Rays as MKV files and they're of excellent quality, and I'll be willing to downgrade them to 720p, just not at the price and low quality compression Apple offers.

    Unfortunately Apple does not support this in iTunes. Anyone imagine it will make its way in eventually? Much better HD filetype than .MOVs.

    If not, the new iPad has drag and drop mountable storage support. Anyone imagine I can drop .MKV files into the app's folder when my iPad is mounted and the app can play them?

    Really want the iPad, but this is a really dampening feature for me. That beautiful HD screen only being able to play iTunes content that doesn't do justice to HD or the price.

  2. boxstboy macrumors member

    Jul 25, 2009
    Given that a)it's made by Apple, and b) it's basically an ipod touch for giants, what do you think?
  3. aaquib macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    Use Air Video. It's brilliant. I watch tons of 720p mkv clips and it automatically encodes it over-the-air and plays it on the iPhone. I have a 5mbps service and even with that, no lag whatsoever.

    Edit: Oh yeah, there's no jailbreaking, it's free from the App Store (there's a paid one, but there's not much incentive to upgrade) and it scales the video to 480X320 automatically.
  4. colmaclean macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    Doubt it without jailbreaking.

    You won't be able to play 720p widescreen content at full resolution anyway.
  5. Luke Redpath macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2007
    Colchester, UK
    I might be wrong, but isn't MKV just a container? Why not use an iTunes-friendly container like MP4 and encode your movies using a decent codec like H.264?
  6. iphonegeek786 macrumors 6502


    Nov 18, 2009
    I have a question, if I have movies on my computer will I be able to put them on the iPad without buying it from my iTunes.
  7. Luke Redpath macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2007
    Colchester, UK
    Generally, if it can be added to your iTunes library, it can be synched to your iPad/iPhone/iPod touch although there are limitations on codec and container.
  8. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2005
    The fact that you will be able to copy files directly from your desktop computer to a shared folder on the iPad that an app can access opens up a whole new possibility for video players. Previously an app like VLC would have had to implement an entire wireless syncing client/server set up to copy movies from a computer to the iPhone, but that will not be necessary for the iPad. The only question becomes whether the iPad's CPU can handle decoding the various video formats.
  9. bobpensik macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2003
    Calgary, AB

    I use the same application and it works great. Its all you need.
  10. colmaclean macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    I've just tried out Air Video and it is indeed excellent.

    For me the only problem with it is that you need a Mac/PC switched on to perform the transcoding as my Linux NAS is incompatible. Bah!
  11. seepel macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2009
    I've messed with this a bit for my Apple TV. Unfortunately it doesn't look good. Most mkvs are transcoded with the High profile x264 codec. The apple store sells HD with the Main h.264 codec (same thing less compression as far as I know) As a result their devices don't support anything higher. Otherwise it would be a simple matter of remuxing the video. Like the Apple TV I imagine the iPad will be doing hardware decoding as I doubt the A4 chip is powerful enough on its own to do the decoding.

    So long story short I think you'd have to transcode your videos keeping in mind the specs of the device. I think it maxes out at 2.5 Mbps, 720p Main profile x264, and 30 fps.
  12. Julien macrumors G4


    Jun 30, 2007
    People are often confused by this and assume it will be HD. It will play 1280x720 HD content but it will be downscaled. The iPad is NOT HD (as well as most so called HD portable devices) because the display must be at least *1280x720 to meet HD's minimum requirements. Here is what will be shown on the iPad's 1024x768 screen.

    iPad's display is 1.33 (3x4).................................1024x768
    HDTV 1.78 (16x9) will be...................................1024x575 (black bars=96 lines top & 96 lines bottom)
    Scope (Panavision/Super 35) 2.35 movies will be..1024x436 (black bars=166 lines top & 166 lines bottom)

    *some 1st gen plasma's used 1024x720 (non square pixels for a 1.78 (16x9) aspect ratio) and were called HD.
  13. Simmerl macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Matrovska/MKV is a container.
    If you have your movies coded h.264 within your MKV container, you should be able to convert them into a container QuickTime, iTunes, the iPad etc. can play.
  14. yegon macrumors 68030

    Oct 20, 2007
    Anyone used Subler successfully with the iPad?

    This is able to to mux .mkv to .mp4 files, to play on Apple TV etc without the need for conversion, saving aeon's of time in the process. I'd like to know if it works with the iPad.

    Won't have my iPad till Friday but just did a mux of a typical 1.17gb 720p mkv file, only took about 2 minutes. It'd be awesome if this works.

    Note: For the uninitiated I'm NOT talking about mkv->mp4 conversion, so please don't suggest Handbrake. The point of Subler is making mkv's compatible with the iPad without the need of a lengthy transcoding session..
  15. zerolight macrumors 6502


    Mar 6, 2006
    I use Air Video to stream stuff. If I were to require movies on the move I'd use MKVTools to convert them from MKV to MP4 which it does by pulling the mp4 file out of the MKV then just converting the audio to stereo. This takes a few mins per MKV, so nice and quick. That said, the iPad will only play a 720p source directly, so this process will only work for 720p MKVs.

    Fortunately, all I need is to transcode as I tend to use the movies feature in my home, so Air Video is perfect. I'll
  16. yegon macrumors 68030

    Oct 20, 2007
    Good to know there's a definite alternative should Subler not work, I already use MKVtools too.

    Streaming is useless to me as I'll be using it purely at work or travelling.
  17. Deamos macrumors member

    Mar 25, 2009
    Can you run Wine on your NAS? I have Air Video Server running on Ubuntu through Wine. Works perfectly fine. The only problem is that the host discovery doesn't work, however manually inputting the IP address works fine.
  18. Theophany macrumors 6502a


    Nov 16, 2008
    NW London.
    Handbrake is great at converting MKV to M4V (iTunes friendly MP4 extension). No loss of quality, though you'll need to enable 'large file sizes' within Handbrake and definitely go for the 64 bit version for speed. Only thing is it doesn't support batch encoding, so you'll have to create an encode list one file at a time. Seeing as VisualHub was discontinued a while back, Handbrake is really the best free option I've come across.

    If your files are MKV because you want to keep subtitles within them, you can also port those into M4V format (although M4V does not support 'hard' subs like MKV, it does support 'soft' subs in iTunes and on Apple devices). Details of this process can be found here.
  19. turugara macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2009
    AirVideo is a great way to stream video and convert on the fly.
  20. imacdaddy macrumors 6502a

    Feb 2, 2006
    THANKS!!! I've been looking to MUX my vids instead of re-encoding for the longest time. I will give this try tonight! :D THANKS!!!

    I've been re-encoding my mkv files using handbreak for the longest time and its so time consuming.
  21. huskerchad macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    Yes, both are just containers and say nothing about the codec or quality of the video. If the codecs are right, you can simply remux from mkv to mp4 to play on the iPad.
  22. poloponies Suspended

    May 3, 2010
    I embarked on a project to rip all my DVDs to a network drive (for AppleTV access) and bought an ElGato turbo.264 hardware accelerator to speed up the process. I now have a couple hundred movies in my iTunes folder. When i got my iPad I wanted to pare down the files so I could carry more with me. The ElGato works well for that. You can dump a bunch of files on it and then re-encode the batch to whatever format you like - you can even encode to different formats in a single batch (you select the format for each file via drop-down menu within that file's window). Works with most source files including mkv, avi. The day after I got the iPad I dumped a ton of stuff on it and it finished the batch 20 hours later (each file was accessible as it was converted so I didn't have to wait for the entire batch to complete).

    Well worth the cost for me.
  23. fatbarstewar macrumors member

    Feb 21, 2009

    Please let me know if it works okay. Like I say, Im iPad-less till Friday :)
  24. rworne macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    +1 here for Air Video.

    Not only will it stream just about anything with on-the-fly transcoding, but you can also queue up items to transcode while you are not using it.

    I have mine connected to my ReadyNAS AFP share and it streams/converts everything.
  25. billyzenme macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2009
    -1 here for Air Video

    it's actually useless since it requires a computer to be running 24/7 in the background (for decoding) just so the video can be viewed on the iPad.

    if Air Video can directly connect to the NAS files/folders, then it would be much more practical.
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